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First Tier Tribunal (SEN and disability)

The First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) is a legal body. The Tribunal hears appeals from parents of children with SEN, and young people with SEN, about EHC needs assessments and EHC plans. You can find out more at

Graduated approach

The SEND Code of Practice says that schools should follow a graduated approach when providing SEN Support. This is based on a cycle of:

  • Assess
  • Plan
  • Do
  • Review

You can find out more about the graduated approach in the SEND code of Practice sections 6.44 to 6.56.

Independent supporter

A person recruited by a voluntary or community sector organisation to help families going through an EHC needs assessment and the process of developing an EHC plan. This person is independent of the local authority and will receive training, including legal training, to enable him or her to provide this support.


Someone who provides children, young people and parents with a single point of contact to help make sure the support they receive is co-ordinated. A keyworker could be provided directly by a local authority or local health organisation, a school or college, or from a voluntary or private sector body.

Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA)

Learning Difficulty Assessments set out what additional learning support a young person needed when continuing their education into some form of post-16 education or training.

From 1September 2014 Learning Difficulty Assessments will be replaced by EHC plans. Local authorities must transfer young people who already have provision as a result of an LDA to the new SEND system by 1 September 2016 if they are staying in further education or training after that date.

Local authority/authorities

Local authorities are administrative offices that provide services within their local areas. There are 152 across England which are education authorities. For more information about local government, see

Local Offer

The Local Offer, published by every local authority, tells you what support is available for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities, and their families. It includes information about education, health and care provision. It also gives information about training, employment and independent living for young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

Local transition plan

Every local authority must publish a plan that explains when and how Statements of Special Educational Need will be transferred to the new system, as well as information for young people in further education and training who receive support as a result of a Learning Difficulties Assessment.


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